Welcome to the Ultimate Netball Club
“We are Stronger Together” = The ethos of Saracens Mavericks

12th February 2020

Written by Lucy Smith – Saracens Mavericks Stronger Together Volunteer

Saturday 1st February 2020 - an uncharacteristically sunny day, after months of typical British winter weather - as Saracens Mavericks met Wasps for a pre-season friendly match at the Herts Sports Village. As well as the match, the day also consisted of the our ‘Volunteer Workshop’, and our highly anticipated ‘Dress Launch’, where we were able to showcase the new dresses soon to be donned by our Saracens Mavericks team, in the long-awaited return of the Vitality Netball Superleague.

We started the day a few hours before the match commenced. There was an excitement building in the air, as volunteers gathered in the meeting room with the purpose of getting to know their newest family members, who have this season joined our volunteer team.

Team bonding exercises had been set up to help break the ice, with Mavericks Head Coach Kat Ratnapala, and player Gabby Marshall, also amongst the group. Kat and Gabby being there definitely helped to create the feeling of inclusion and to bring our volunteers even closer to the team.

The first task was for the volunteers to successfully line themselves up in alphabetical order, in accordance with their first name - the only catch; “No talking allowed!”, a difficult first hurdle for a lot of the ladies in the room! Nonetheless, they managed to overcome this, and successfully completed the task at hand.

Next on the agenda; a game full of lies and deceit and uncovering truths which until this point had been buried deep! Everything they thought they knew about one another, out the window...

Each volunteer took it in turns to share with the group 2 truths and 1 lie, with the rest of the group passing judgement on which was the lie. First impressions were certainly changed with volunteers talking about their personal lives, and each volunteer now saw a different group of people from when they first entered the room.

Who knew, amongst the seemingly innocent group of well-mannered volunteers, we had armed service officers and lingerie models. However, the main success of the morning was the relaxed vibe, which was created, and the start of true friendships being born.

From a room full of strangers, to a unified group of people, the team build exercises allowed them to come together through plenty of laughter, and a shared common interest; love for netball, and Saracens Mavericks. 

The next couple of hours flew by, and with tears streaming down faces, and belly’s aching with laughter, now was the moment everyone had been waiting for; our Mavericks family to be completed...enter the players!

As each player entered, all the volunteers carried the same expression on their faces; admiration. It was a shared emotion in the room, just being in the presence of these mighty giants, who we all aspire to play like - despite believing in our heads that we already do, and that Jess Thirlby is going to be the next name on our caller ID, offering us a position in her England Roses squad.

Finally, it was ‘Dress Launch’ time. It was revealed that the volunteers had been pre-selected and partnered with a Saracens Maverick player as part of a new initiative called Stronger Together.

Volunteers are an integral part of the Saracens Mavericks family and have been since Mavericks inception in 2004.

This season is the inaugural launch of our Stronger Together team who are extremely important to all our events. Enhancing the match day experience for all our spectators, supporting regular events and therefore makes the Stronger Together team vital.

All our volunteers are part of the Stronger Together team and 10 longest standing volunteers are being inducted fully this season and include – 

Abbie Taylor, Amy Swinburne, Bernie Palmer, Emma Brown, Helen Hollowday, Jay Stevens, Lucy Smith, Neeve Palmer, Sheelagh Redpath, Wendy Smith

These volunteers were then asked to present their Saracens Mavericks’ player with her new dress! Hearts racing, and palms sweating, they each took their turn to stand up in front of the rest of the group and present their player with her dress. The idea behind the player and volunteer buddy scheme - besides being cheaper than hiring professional bodyguards - is to help build upon the partnership between player and valued volunteer. This was greatly received by both players and volunteers.

And now it was time for the players to start preparing for the game ahead, and the volunteers to ensure the court and other backstage scenes were set up. With spirits high, the girls took to the court as a roar of applause and cheers filled the hall, only broken by the sound of the first whistle.

A fierce battle was had, with both teams giving their all. However, fortune favoured Saracens Mavericks, and we clinched the win; 59 - 47.

The atmosphere was electric, with a hint of friendly competitiveness. It was inspiring to see the sportsmanship demonstrated by both sides, as young players spectated from the side lines - a true defining moment as to why these teams are such good role-models.

Huge congratulations to Raz, who was the ‘Player of the Match’. Thoroughly well deserved.

After the game, some of the volunteers stayed behind and joined the players for a hearty post-match meal. Kat went on to lead the post-match debrief, with Kadeen turning to the volunteers, and asking them “What do you guys think?”. Caught a little off-guard, they stuttered to answer, until one of them responded with the such encouraging, and constructive words of wisdom ... “Just keep smashing it.”. The plan for this season, start as we mean to go on.

So, with those words undoubtedly ringing in their ears, here’s to the Super League, being led by Saracens Mavericks!

We are, “Stronger Together!”.

If you are interested in joining our team of magnificent volunteers please get in touch by email: mavericksevents@saracens.net

Grab your tickets to all our home matches here Home Match Tickets 2020